Monday, March 28, 2016

Credo 7:
A Leader Leaves a Lasting Legacy

Are You a Beekeeper or a Watchmaker?

Continuing the Credo for 21st Century Management from Liquid Leadership:

The 7th Law:
A Liquid Leader Leaves a Lasting Legacy

If you travel around the world, whether to Sweden or Alaska, Peru or Nigeria, Mexico or Australia, when you look past the modern buildings you will find evidence of ancient civilizations that understood the concept of a legacy. These civilizations considered every action in terms of its impact on the next one hundred generations, and they were serious about this.

Today we have lost this idea of a legacy. Even more so in this new age, we see ourselves and our creations as disposable and transient. The houses built today won’t last more than forty years—just in time for you to pay off your mortgage. Our skyscrapers won’t last anywhere near as long as the pyramids of Egypt or the Roman Coliseum, and our streets are far from being the Appian Way—they need full repair crews every couple of years. If today’s society can be said to have any legacy at all, it’s one of planned obsolescence.

Many people claim this is the way it has to be in an advanced society. Really? Tell that to a company like Exxon, which is looking into fuel alternatives like algae; or TESLA Motors and their development of the electric car and battery cells; or Intel, using energy-efficient Celeron processors to control electricity-generating wind turbines along with a multitude of Green products needing artificial intelligence. These companies are looking into alternative technology to build a legacy for the future.

Leaving a lasting legacy is about creating structures that don’t require your presence for their success. It’s about leaving your company, your world, and your grandchildren’s world a better place for having been graced by your presence. I have no time for leaders who think only of now and always want to be the center of attention.

After all, why are you here on Earth? Just to make big money? Or to be of service to others, helping them to acquire the skills they need to align their dreams with a changing planet? To create a place where people feel secure enough to stay and raise their kids, get their first mortgage, and pass on the legacy of doing great work in a great company? What I am proposing may sound bigger than life, but that is what you should expect from yourself and the people you work with—you are changing the world because you believe you can.


In a fast-paced world the idea of delayed gratification seems to have disappeared in favor of quick profits and quick results. But building something great and lasting is about defining a clear vision, planning and effort, persistence over time, and eventual harvest.

A society based on planned obsolescence cannot survive for very long. History is filled with such stories, but many believe that because we have cell phones and e-readers and an interconnected electrical grid system, we could never go backward—yet we could. We can call it the “new economy,” but it relies on electricity to function. Many economists agree that when the Roman Empire collapsed and plunged Europe into the Dark Ages, all technological progress came to a halt. It would take more than a thousand years to regain the same momentum. According to author Richard Maybury, we are actually 1,500 years behind where we could have been technologically.

To explain our world today, we must look at the past and make an educated guess for the future. 


Yes, old methodologies are changing the way we do things, but we can’t abandon everything we’ve learned over the past six millennia. One thing we know for certain: The Internet has shaken our world to the core. For the first time in human history the planet is connected by a global infrastructure, which is built on the Internet, satellites, machine-to-machine communication, and wireless technology. And it’s not just for commerce; it’s also for communication, security, socializing, and entertainment. We are no longer mentally isolated by physical borders. If we do it right, the human race is on the cusp of yet another huge leap forward—a global legacy.

As leaders, you have the job of supporting the people who make our companies great—by giving them the tools to win, and by being humble enough to listen to their input and accept their support. Yes, what we do is about the bottom line, but I challenge you to resist quick profits and embrace long-term changes—delay gratification in exchange for something greater than yourself. More than ever, whether you are a Boomer or an eighteen-year-old building your Facebook page, it is your job to create a standard of excellence that catapults us all to another level.


By raising our standards, we raise our expectations. By raising our expectations, we change what we will tolerate. It is time to stop rewarding those who have failed and start rewarding those who do things right. It is time to focus on the real leaders and innovators in every generation.

The world of the future is at our fingertips, and we need to start now. Remember, our thoughts have mass; they have an impact on this world. If you believe it, you can achieve it. Let’s change this world together, one visionary idea at a time.

I look forward to being a part of that world...








Brad Szollose

Global Management Consultant

Millennial Expert, Cross Generational Leadership Development & Workforce Performance Strategies, Executive Coach


Brad Szollose (pronounced zolis), is a globally recognized Management Consultant and the foremost authority on Millennials and Cross-Generational Leadership Development Strategies.


TEDX Speaker, Web pioneer and the author of the award-winning, bestseller Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia, Brad is a former C-level executive of a publicly traded company that he cofounded that went from entrepreneurial start-up to IPO in three years; the first Dot Com Agency to go public on NASDAQ. His company K2 Design, experienced 425% hyper-growth, due in part to a unique management style that won his company the Arthur Andersen NY Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation.
 
Today the world’s leading business publications seek out Brad’s insights on Millennials, and he has been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post, New York Magazine, Inc., Advertising Age, The International Business Times, and The Hindu BusinessLine to name a few, along with television, radio and podcast appearances on CBS and other media outlets. 

Brad's programs have transformed a new generation of business leaders, helping them maximize their corporate culture, expectations, productivity, and sales growth in The Information Age. 


* 2011 Axiom Business Book silver medal winner in the leadership

* #1 Amazon Best-Selling Author


"I just had my mind blown..." - A.S., Vistage, New York

Liquid Leadership by Brad Szollose is available at all major bookstores and for Kindle, Nook, iPad and Sony ereaders. Internationally published in India and S. Korea.



Monday, March 14, 2016

Are Your a Beekeeper or a Watchmaker?

Click Here to read Brad's previous post

During the summer of 1981, with the smell of chocolate in the air, I became the assistant manager in the games division of Hersheypark in Pennsylvania. My specialty within the chocolate themed amusement park was running the water balloon race. You know the game—squirt water into a plastic clown’s mouth to blow up a balloon. The first one to pop their balloon won a bright yellow plush stuffed banana. I wanted to trade all that in for a management position. 


Looking back on it now is quite amusing. I was an 18-year-old kid attempting to manage other 18-year olds. Picture Doogie Howser trying to act managerial and you get the picture. 


Fast-forward 18 years later. I would find myself leading the Dot Com boom as the cofounder of the very first Internet Agency to go public with an IPO on NASDAQ—K2 Design, Inc.


Now please understand, I am not telling you this to brag, I am telling you this to impress upon you how much I HAD to change over those 2 decades. I was raised in a very small town and taught to just get a job, work long hours and hopefully work your way up the ladder. But during those Silicon Alley days on Wall St., in order to meet the demands of a new tech-savvy workforce, I had to adapt. If I resisted, my best and brightest would quit, taking their ideas to our competition.


Fast-forward another 18 years. Today’s younger workforce is not motivated by money, power or the corner office, but instead, motivated by rich experiences and incredibly dynamic work environments that continuously challenge their abilities. And I just want to clarify, when I say younger workforce I mean 37 years of age and younger— a.k.a. Generation Y, Millennials, Gamers and/or Digital Natives. But that doesn’t mean I am excluding my fellow Baby Boomers. This benefits all of us as I am about to point out. So first, let’s ask ourselves a question: Are you a Beekeeper or a Watchmaker?

A watchmaker works in an environment of precision.


In order to create a beautiful timepiece every single day, each phase of the watchmakers operation must be micromanaged. One micron off could lead to disastrous results. Innovation only comes from the top of such a company. Ideas and thoughts from the assembly line get in the way of output. Head down. Do your job. Meet your quota. Listen and obey. Sound familiar?


But, conversely, the beekeeper operates in a world of constant chaos and shifting conditions.


His or her job consists of overseeing 150,000 bees, living and working out of over 4-dozen, 3-foot-high “wooden hives.” Instead of micromanaging like our previously mentioned watchmaker, the beekeeper must foster a nurturing environment that supports the production of honey. Micromanaging would get in the way of the hive. So a beekeepers job is to give the bees the best environment possible for seamless production. In other words, get out of the way and let them manage themselves.


To the untrained eye, the hive can look like nothing but chaos. What is really going on is each bee acts as an independent agent whose soul mission is in alignment with the hives overall mission: produce honey. The beekeeper CANNOT guarantee an exact outcome, but he trusts that each will do what they do best.


This management model when applied to the real world, relies on a simple premise: People are free to do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done.


In today’s parlance this “beekeeper” style of management is called a Results Only Work Environment or ROWE for short.



You cannot create incredible products in an environment that micromanages creativity and punishes innovation. Your job as a leader in the 21st Century is not to be a commander shouting orders from on high but be the beekeeper who strives to bring out the very best in people. 


I look forward to seeing you there...








Brad Szollose

“The Beekeeper and The Watchmaker” story can be found in Navigating The Growth Curve by James Fischer. Want to learn how to manage like a beekeeper? Check out James Fischer’s Growth Curve Institute.


Brad Szollose is a globally recognized Management Consultant and the foremost authority on Millennials and Cross-Generational Leadership Development Strategies.


TEDX Speaker, Web pioneer and the author of the award-winning, bestseller Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia, Brad is a former C-level executive of a publicly traded company that he cofounded that went from entrepreneurial start-up to IPO in three years; the first Dot Com Agency to go public on NASDAQ. His company K2 Design, experienced 425% hyper-growth, due in part to a unique management style that won his company the Arthur Andersen NY Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation.
 
Today the world’s leading business publications seek out Brad’s insights on Millennials, and he has been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post, New York Magazine, Inc., Advertising Age, The International Business Times, and The Hindu BusinessLine to name a few, along with television, radio and podcast appearances on CBS and other media outlets. 

Brad's programs have transformed a new generation of business leaders, helping them maximize their corporate culture, expectations, productivity, and sales growth in The Information Age. 


* 2011 Axiom Business Book silver medal winner in the leadership

* #1 Amazon Best-Selling Author


"I just had my mind blown..." - A.S., Vistage, New York

Liquid Leadership by Brad Szollose is available at all major bookstores and for Kindle, Nook, iPad and Sony ereaders. Internationally published in India and S. Korea.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

How The Video Game Generation Took Over Wall Street.

Click Here for Brad's previous posts

From 1995 through 2000, Wall Street was flooded with an army of twenty-somethings eager to prove that the Internet was the new frontier for business.

The ubiquitous image of the Internet guru with a shaven head, a pierced ear, and a goatee, dressed from head to toe in black, was harshly juxtaposed against the New York Stock Exchange traders dressed in conservative suits and the daily power tie. Two completely different cultures were coming together for the very first time.

Creative types were taking over Wall Street,
and I was one of them.


Awkward moments of weirdness were a daily event at the local deli counters as the suits gave Internet-savvy graphic designers the once-over. These vagabond-looking young people standing in line at the Au Bon Pain on Broad Street, with their tattoos and piercings, were the very young people whom the Wall Street Journal was following every day.

This was a time when venture capitalists suddenly lost their minds and handed out billions in start-up capital to the first Gen Xer who shouted, “It’s the new economy, man; you just don’t get it!” The geeks who used to get teased for playing Dungeons & Dragons and being early adopters of everything computerized were now speaking in code like the Oracle at Delphi. And the funny thing was, Wall Street was listening.

Investors threw money at anyone who designed websites, and my company, K2 was the first to do it well. Many of the trends during the first dot-com era made no sense, but as a long-time entrepreneur, I made a decision that made total sense: question everything with the detachment of a seasoned interviewer and the keen eye of a hardened reporter. Since our business models were changing overnight, the best course of action seemed to be to just observe and not judge. “Figure out the model and adapt to it” became my motto.

Sometimes it seemed I was seeing the entire world change before me. Everywhere I went in Manhattan there was electricity in the air and something strange taking place—young, savvy, creative types were dabbling in big business, handling their careers with the strategic focus of a hardened battlefield general.

It was becoming apparent that this up-and-coming generation was different from mine.


It also explained why the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, and the New York Times were covering their every move. This new wave of twenty-somethings coming out of college didn’t seem to want a job; they wanted to start companies and decimate the way their parents worked. They weren’t satisfied with forty years in a cubicle and a gold watch at retirement. It was obvious to me that this generation wanted a different experience, and they knew it was there for the taking.

The truth is, this young workforce is just like any other generation that came before them—cocky, resentful, bold, and defiant. The only difference is, Generations X and Y have a skill set that Baby Boomers didn’t have, and suddenly that skill is in demand. For the first time in history, youth has money, power, freedom, and media attention. And they exercised that power for the first time during the dot-com boom.

HTML programmers were demanding $85,000 a year despite the fact that the code could be taught to a kindergartner. Secretaries wanted stock options before they would even consider an interview. Salespeople wanted to be assured that if they brought in the business, they wouldn’t get just commissions but equal partnership. If you didn’t give in to their demands, they went to the competition to reveal your super secret proprietary system. And there were plenty of companies that would give them all that they asked for and more.

The history of Wall Street was being rewritten as the first wave of Digital Natives; Gen X and Millennials, became Internet paper millionaires. To Baby Boomers like myself who had grown up on solid, tried-and-true textbook business ideologies, this made no sense. Why was Wall Street going gaga over a few kids with an Internet company? It was just graphic design in a new medium. Yet despite business plans being scribbled on cocktail napkins, and questions about profitability being met with vitriolic cynicism from the techno wunderkinds, venture capitalists were writing big checks.

The old career norm of getting a job after graduating from college, working your way up the ladder over ten to fifteen years, buying a house, getting the corner office, and then retiring was being replaced by a system of young, tech-savvy entrepreneurs starting their own companies immediately after college. These Internet entrepreneurs were seen as business rebels—brilliant and uncontrollable— who were shaking up the status quo.

But they really were the first generation immersed in everything technological: video games, computers, CD-ROMs, computerized educational toys, and, of course, the Internet. As Boomers sat in shock, venture capitalists gave these kids billions. No one dared say that the emperor wasn’t wearing clothes, for fear that maybe, just maybe, the new kids on the block were right. The new economy was still undefined.

The media called them Generation X and Generation Y, and they listened to bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam leading the grunge movement while comedians like Tom Green and shows like Jackass reflected a new generational cynicism.

As Generations X and Y emerged from college into their first jobs, they expected high-speed connectivity, cell phones, good starting salaries, and a laptop. They demanded all this and more at entry level. The assumption was that whatever the company wasn’t paying in salary, they could make up for by providing perks. If these new job seekers didn’t get these “toys,” they quit and ventured out on their own. The explosion of hundreds of new media start-ups in Manhattan from 1995 to 2000 was the direct result of this technologically immersed generation entering the workforce for the very first time—and flipping our world on its ear.

According to John C. Beck and Mitchell Wade, authors of Got Game: How the Gamer Generation Is Reshaping Business Forever, the entire dotcom boom of the mid-90s was due entirely to the first wave of a generation raised on video games, computer technology, and access to the Internet.

This is the Dungeons and Dragons crowd, more comfortable with interactivity and video game competitions than sitting around watching TV. The dot-com boom of the mid-nineties was the first wave. The Social Network Era called Internet 2.0 was the second wave. And the third wave
is upon us now.

Maybe this explains WHY everyone is obsessed
with getting the next phone, digital device
or gaming platform.


Wait til Virtual Reality takes off...

Thanks again for reading,



Brad Szollose 
Global Management Consultant
Millennial Expert, Leadership Development & Workforce Performance Strategies



Brad Szollose is a globally recognized Management Consultant and the foremost authority on Millennials, Generational Leadership Development and Workforce Performance Strategies.


Author of the award-winning, bestseller Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia, Brad is a former C-level executive of a publicly traded company that he cofounded that went from entrepreneurial start-up to IPO in three years; the first Dot Com Agency to go public on NASDAQ. His company K2 Design, experienced 425% hyper-growth, due in part to a unique management style that won his company the Arthur Andersen NY Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation.
 
Today the world’s leading business publications seek out Brad’s insights on Millennials, and he has been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post, New York Magazine, Inc., Advertising Age, The International Business Times, and The Hindu BusinessLine to name a few, along with television, radio and podcast appearances on CBSand other media outlets. 

Brad's programs have transformed a new generation of business leaders, helping them maximize their corporate culture, expectations, productivity, and sales growth in The Information Age. 


* 2011 Axiom Business Book silver medal winner in the leadership

* #1 Amazon Best-Selling Author


"I just had my mind blown..." - A.S., Vistage, New York

Liquid Leadership by Brad Szollose is available at all major bookstores and for Kindle, Nook, iPad and Sony ereaders. Internationally published in India and S. Korea.